Academic journal article Anarchist Studies

The Floodgates of Anarchy

Academic journal article Anarchist Studies

The Floodgates of Anarchy

Article excerpt

Stuart Christie & Albert Meltzer, The Floodgates of Anarchy Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2010; 144pp, £12 ISBN: 978-1-60486-105-1

PM Press, a young and vibrant anarchist publishing house in San Francisco, have reissued The Floodgates of Anarchy, a seminal work by two stalwarts of British anarchism, Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer. Christie will forever be associated with his attempt to assassinate the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, in 1964. Indeed, he attributes the genesis of this book to the resulting time he spent with other anarchist inmates in Madrid's Carabanchel Prison. Christie is still active as an anarchist publisher and polemicist and recently announced on his Facebook page that his story is to be the subject of a forthcoming feature film. He welcomes flattering suggestions as to who should play the lead! Meltzer's long life and political activism cannot be separated from the growth and development of anarchism in the UK and in the establishment of international links which led to the formation of the Anarchist Black Cross prisoner support group. I got to know him, all too briefly, in the early 1980s, when we were both members of the anarcho-syndicalist Direct Action Movement. Though individual chapters of the book are not attributed to either author, many of the early ones are undoubtedly Meltzer's and re-reading the text today brings memories of meetings and conversations with Albert vividly back to life. He was not only uncompromising in his views, but was given to reinforcing political points not only with historical examples, but with instances drawn from his own experience. His objections to both Marxism and reformist socialism, as well as his repudiation of the nature and tactics of the parties of the left, were often dealt with in this way, as can be seen in this book, though not to the same extent as they are deployed in his autobiography, I Couldn't Paint Golden Angels (Edinburgh: AK Press; 1996). I see now, but did not recognise then, the many similarities between Albert and Murray Bookchin. …

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